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A historical exploration of our neighbors

An architectural tour of San Luis Obispo amazes and assists

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LET ME GIVE YOU THE TOUR :  The Monday Club presents Architectural Tour: Secrets Of Five Classic Victorians on April 26 from 1-5 p.m. The tour begins at the Monday Club, 1815 Monterey St. in SLO, and includes Victorian homes such as the Crocker House, Hankenson House, Tucker House, Shipsey House, and Garden Street Inn, all chosen for their beauty and architectural detail. There is free parking and free shuttle service to all sites. There are 28 docents in the Tour Homes, plus 12 more members in the Clubhouse on Tour Day. All are Monday Club members who are volunteering their time and talent. This is a fundraiser for student scholarships. Pictured is the Crocker House, built over 100 years ago. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at SLO Chamber of Commerce, at the door or by calling 543-9807. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZETTE LEES
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZETTE LEES
  • LET ME GIVE YOU THE TOUR : The Monday Club presents Architectural Tour: Secrets Of Five Classic Victorians on April 26 from 1-5 p.m. The tour begins at the Monday Club, 1815 Monterey St. in SLO, and includes Victorian homes such as the Crocker House, Hankenson House, Tucker House, Shipsey House, and Garden Street Inn, all chosen for their beauty and architectural detail. There is free parking and free shuttle service to all sites. There are 28 docents in the Tour Homes, plus 12 more members in the Clubhouse on Tour Day. All are Monday Club members who are volunteering their time and talent. This is a fundraiser for student scholarships. Pictured is the Crocker House, built over 100 years ago. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at SLO Chamber of Commerce, at the door or by calling 543-9807.

New Times How are you involved in the upcoming Architectural Tour: Secrets of Five Classic Victorians in SLO?

Suzette Lees I’ve been on the architectural tour committee for five years. Architecture is a passion of mine and I have been all over Europe and most of the world and appreciate the intricacies of architecture.

New Times What architecture have you seen that has stuck with you from your travels?

Lees The stone cathedrals around England, Notre Dame in France.

New Times Whom is this tour geared towards? Novice architecture buffs or should you be an expert?

Lees Both, that’s the beauty of it. It’s something for the long-time residents who have driven by the homes, and wondered what they looked like inside. Architects come on the tour because of their profession. We actually had two architects who donated their homes.

New Times Why have this tour in SLO?

Lees It’s a learning experience. We highlight some of the architectural details in each of the homes and buildings. It’s a fun afternoon event and the public may not have another opportunity to view these homes.

New Times What we can expect during the four-hour architecture tour?

Lees In the Shipsey House on Mill Street there is a detailed railing on the rooflines that was trendy about 100 years ago, has an Asian influence, and reportedly wards off evil spirits. The Crocker House has coved walls— the walls bend and don’t come to a right angle—and that warded off evil spirits as well, if they happened to be lurking in the corners. The walls didn’t have any corners, since it just curves. The Garden Street Inn was built as a one-story building but the second owners built a second story, and that’s an example of incremental architecture where it started out as one thing (a house) and ended up as another (an inn). The Hankenson House on Chorro is a twin house; it may or may not have been made from a kit. But it has a twin right next door to it with the exact same footprint. The Tucker house was moved several blocks and still has an ornate carved wood banister. This is just a bit of the architectural details that attendees will see.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZETTE LEES
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZETTE LEES
New Times In addition, guests will tour the Monday Club, designed by Julia Morgan (who designed what is now known as Hearst Castle), correct?

Lees Oh yes. The Monday Club started in 1925 and was founded for the betterment of the city—to do different nonprofit projects. For instance, they designed lighted entrance signs to the city on Highway 101 in 1926 and we have pictures of that. In 2000 is when the architectural tour was started. When Julia Morgan stopped in SLO on Fridays after she left S.F. before she went to Hearst’s, she needed a lady’s home to stay in and ended up sketching the design for the current Monday Club Clubhouse, for which she wouldn’t accept payment. She just wanted a place to stay and a ride to the castle the next day.

New Times Tell me about the scholarships and how this tour helps students.

Lees The scholarships are given to six students who are seniors in high school who enter a competition.

Christy Heron thinks New Times’ offices should be on the tour. Explore this possibility at cheron@newtimesslo.com.

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